Thanks to all the geothermal activity, there are a whole lot of hot pots in Iceland (they don’t call it the Land of Fire and Ice for nothing!). I was super excited to do a hot pot tour of Iceland and hit as many hot springs as we possibly could during our time there.
We were able to enjoy 7 different hot springs that we went in, 1 super cool hot pot that is only for viewing, and visited and saw 2 more places that were unfortunately closed (one of those I’m still *so* bummed we missed out on!).
I loved the hot pots in Iceland so much – they were all so unique and varied!
The toasty water felt amazing in the chilly weather. Being the nerds that we are, we actually brought a thermometer with us so we could take the water temps for ourselves – so the temperatures noted in this post are original data!
This guide to hot pots in Iceland lists the absolute best hot pots along the Ring Road, broken down into categories of spas/pools, natural hot pots, and ones we saw but didn’t go in.
I’m also giving each hot spring a rating of either “must do”, “nice to do”, or “can skip”.
Note: In Icelandic, “laug” means hot pot
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Spa Hot Pots of Iceland
The pools in these sections are man-made and require an entrance fee. We had a wide range of experiences with man-made hot pots in Iceland!
1. Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is conveniently located between Reykjavik and the airport – unsurprisingly, it gets a lot of tourists and is definitely the most well-known hot pot in Iceland.
Despite this, I actually found Blue Lagoon to be really nice. There were several amenities included in the price (a towel, a complimentary drink from the bar, a mud mask, use of the saunas).
The lagoon was very, very big and there was a lot of space to spread out. To beat the crowds, be there first thing in the morning!
The water was this gorgeous milky blue color! It gets that way from the naturally occurring silica in the area. The rocks lining the sides of the lagoon produce a white mud – you walk on this mud in the bottom of the pools. While that may seem kind of gross, it is actually feels pretty nice!
There is a little stand in the water where they will give you a spoonful of the mud for a mud mask (you can also pay more for a mud scrub).
The water temperature varies as you walk through the lagoon. The very far back spot has the hottest water, and the most mud on the bottom. It was also a little bit less crowded there. They advertise that the water comes in at around 100 F, but we found most parts were closer to 96 or 97 degrees.
We came here straight from the airport on our first day and the water felt fantastic after a long flight!
Blue Lagoon Silica
The silica in the water, while supposedly great for your skin, can make your hair very unmanageable. The silica will get in between strands of hair and make your hair really tough and coarse. To combat this, I definitely would do the following hair care recommendations.
First, put your hair up.
Second, in the showers before you go in, coat your hair with conditioner.
Finally, in the lagoon, try to not get your hair wet!
I did these things, but I did accidentally get part of my hair wet once. If your hair does get wet at all, you DEFINITELY want to do the following routine: wash your hair really well several times with clarifying shampoo. Then, condition with a protein-free conditioner.
Despite planning to keep my hair up and dry, I still brought the clarifying shampoo /protein-free conditioner with me and ended up using it, and I’m glad I did.
There are private showers (with complimentary shampoo, conditioner, and body wash), and some private changing rooms here. Blow dryers are also provided.
My Rating: Must Do!
GeoSea hot spring is a spa-like infinity pool in Husavik, on the north coast of Iceland. It overlooks the bay and the mountains on the other side of the bay and is absolutely gorgeous. Seriously, the views were just incredible.
The spa is divided into several sections, and the water temperature varies quite a bit from pool to pool (they varied from about 98 to 106). We found the northernmost pool to be the hottest. There is a swim up bar you can buy drinks from. Don’t forget to bring your own towel, or rent one there.
My Rating: If you are in the area and it’s a nice day, I would call this one a must do. If the weather sucks, I’d drop it to a nice to do.
3. Höfn City Pool
I’ve heard about how basically every town in Iceland has a city pool/hot tub and that locals go there frequently – so we decided to check out the pool in the city of Höfn (Höfn is pronounced “Hup”). It was a nice, clean facility and there were a good number of people there. There were even 3 waterslides!
There were several hot tubs of varying temperature, with the cooler ones being designed as family pools at around 94 degrees and the hottest being closer to 100. There was also a more regular swimming pool with lanes and 3 waterslides. The pool was still a very comfortable 85 degrees.
If you want to really feel the heat though, you can take a quick plunge in the “ice bath” that was between the hot tubs and then run to the hot tub. The cold tub was air temperature – in this case, 8 degrees Celsius. Oh how that cold pressed on your body, but also how nice the hot tub felt after – your skin prickled with the heat.
Overall, this is an experience you don’t need to seek out, as it still felt very much like a pool in America. But, if you are spending a bit longer in a city and need a place to relax, this is a place that locals utilize regularly.
It also includes a shower, so if you are traveling in a campervan, it’s another way to get one. (Read all about traveling Iceland by campervan here.) The price was $16 for both of us.
My Rating: Only go if you are interested in the local city experience, or want to use the showers. Otherwise, you can skip this one.
Some Logistics for the Man-Made Pools
In every man-made spa or city pool, there is a requirement that you shower without your swimsuit before entering the pool.
The general etiquette is to change – either just get naked or put your swimsuit on – and enter the shower area. Shower and then put on swimsuit, or remove top of swimsuit as you shower and soap your body.
Leave your towel on the rack by the showers for when you get back (people generally don’t bring them out into the pool area).
Everyone also showers as they get out – removing their swimsuit as they go and then grabbing their towel they left on the rack when they are done.
As an American and someone who hasn’t needed to use showers/dressing rooms internationally, the level of nudity was at first a little surprising. My advice is to just go with the flow and do what everyone else is doing – everyone is following the same procedure and no one really cares or is paying attention to you!
Natural Hot Pots of Iceland
These hot pots in Iceland are all in secluded spots in nature – surrounded by hills or mountains, in a cave, or overlooking the ocean. While the man-made spas listed above are nice, you absolutely have to visit at least a couple of the natural hot pots in Iceland!
4. Hruni Hot Pot
This absolutely adorable little Icelandic hot pot is located in a quiet corner of the country side near the Golden Circle. Once you get there, the laug is a very short 3 minute walk from the parking lot.
When you arrive, there is a charming, sod-covered little hut for changing and then 3 different pools: a small plunge pool, a circular pond, and a long, rectangular, rock-lined pool.
The rock-lined pool is where the hot spring originates and is thus the hottest, at 100 degrees Fahrenheit, cooling down to 96 in the plunge pool, and 92 in the pond.
The scenery is gorgeous as the hot pot is surrounded by rolling hills, and a little stream coursing nearby. When we were there, there was some algae in the plunge pool (the steps were a little slick) and pond, but the rectangular one was pretty clean!
There is a box that asks for a $10 or 1000 krona donation to help cover the upkeep, so bring some cash with you.
My Rating: Must go! I would try to go early in the morning to try to avoid any crowds
5. Reykjadalur Thermal River
This spot is very well-known and we thought it deserved its reputation. The hot river is located up in the mountains and you have to hike to get there. It took us 1 hr 10 minutes to hike to the hot river.
The first half of the hike was decently steep. You walk by several small hot pots and even mud pots. These are extremely hot (140 to 180 F) and they have some of that classic sulfuric smell. If you want to approach one, do so with caution as they can gurgle or burst unexpectedly.
Once up into the foothills, the trail flattens out more and you have some fantastic views. There is a beautiful canyon gorge that the trail follows, and you see several waterfalls and rolling hills.
The hills were covered in a mixture of moss and grass, and the vistas felt like they were straight out of a medieval fantasy story – I half expected a knight on his noble steed to come charging down the hill. There were several points where steam was rising off the streams coming into the valley. We loved it.
You know when you’ve reached the thermal river spot when you come to a boardwalk. It was constructed to help prevent erosion of the soil next to the river and there are a few dividers set up for changing. The whole section of the river is steaming and creates an idyllic effect as it babbles between the hills.
The farther up the river you go, the hotter it gets. When we were there, the water at the start of the boardwalk was only 75 degrees, which, while obviously well above the 45 degree air temperature, we thought we could do better.
We went a few hundred feet to where the boardwalk ends and found the water at 100 degrees (that’s more like it).
There is some moss in the river – just embrace it! It’s totally worth it and was actually really nice (and this is coming from a girl who hates seaweed and algae).
Also, the aforementioned changing areas are very open and exposed, so either plan that you will probably be baring something to someone, or have your friend hold up a towel for you.
My Rating: Must Go
6. Djúpavogskörin Hot Pot
We had read about this hot pot before we left but hadn’t planned on stopping. This was another thing our glacier tour guide recommended, so we decided to make a stop (especially since another hot pot we wanted to visit ended up being closed).
I am so glad we did because we loved this hot pot.
It is right before the city of Djúpivogur. You really need to be watching the map because there were not any marking for it – it was basically just a dirt pulloff on the road. Head 100 yards over the rise of the hill and you are there.
The hot pot is right by the sea and you have a great view of it and of a little stream going by. It was nice and toasty at 106 degrees.
This Iceland hot pot was almost like a pool set above the ground – definitely not built into the ground. The water was really clean, and it was so isolated (especially since we were there at 3am). We loved this spot and didn’t want to leave.
My Rating: Must Go
This hot pot in Iceland was so unique because you could sit in the hot pot and almost touch the water of the river, and the falls were juuuuuuust behind the you! (The waterfall is just out of view on the right side of the picture above).
It was super crazy that the water you were sitting in was 106 to 112 degrees (be careful, the 112 degrees areas were very hot) and literally 5 feet away the river water was 40 degrees.
It takes about ten minutes to walk to the hot pot. You will open and close 4 different gates in that 10 minutes! You will walk by the river and see the waterfall, cross a little stream, climb a small crest, and then you are there.
My Rating: Nice if you have time and are passing by, but other natural hot pots ranked higher for me
Grjótagjá is a hot pot in a cave in northern Iceland, about 45 minutes south of Husavik.
You can look at it, but because the water temperature is so high, are not allowed to go into. I’m still including it on this list because it is a COOL spot and is definitely a hidden gem.
You park right outside the cave and scramble down some big rocks to enter the cave (it’s a very short descent). There are some rocks along the edge you can sit on, but most of the cave is the hot pot filled with striking blue water.
The whole thing feels like something right out of a fantasy novel – and in fact, it was used as a filming location for Games of Thrones. It’s a relatively quick stop since it’s fairly small and you can’t get in the water, but I would still highly recommend it.
My Rating: Must do if you are anywhere in the area, but I wouldn’t go crazy out of my way just for it, either
Hot Pots That We Saw, But Were Closed for Entry
9. Hauganes Hot Pot
I was so excited to visit this Icelandic hot pot – there is a little boat hot tub you can sit in! – but it is on private property and there was a house and a big sign by the parking area with hours listed as 10am-10pm, and we rolled in at 6am!
I’m still not over missing out on this spot! It’s located in north Iceland and in a remote area, but if you are doing a Ring Road tour, you should absolutely stop here!
There is a 1000 krona ($8) per person fee to use these hot pots.
My Rating: Must Go (I know, I know, I didn’t go in, but I got a look and I’m confident it feels as nice as it looked!)
10. Hoffel Hot Pot
This hot pot in Iceland (at the time of writing in June 2021) was closed for renovations. Matthew did walk up and take a little peak at it – it looks like they put in updated pools.
They looked like the installation was basically done, so hopefully it will be open again soon. The directions take you out to the middle of no where, but it was a little confusing at first because there is a house right there.
The hot pot is on private property – there is a 1000 krona ($8) fee to use the hot pot. It consists of several circular tubs in a line. The temperature is around 100 degrees.
My Rating: It looks like a really nice spot, but I would prioritize the Hruni hot pot, the Reykjadalur Thermal River, or the Djúpavogskörin hot pot over this one if you had to choose. If you have time, I would still go for it!
The #1 Hot Pot Gear Item You Need:
Microfiber camping towels: These thin towels are very absorbent, but pack down really small and dry extremely fast. They are must haves for all the hot pots you’ll be visiting in Iceland, particularly if you are traveling Iceland by campervan.
My different categories for hot pots in Iceland are:
- Reykjadalur Thermal River
- Hruni Hot Pot
- Blue Lagoon
Nice to Do’s:
- Geosea (bumped up to must-do if its a nice day)
- Hoffel Hot Pots
- Höfn city pool
Wherever you choose to go, definitely do not miss hitting at least a few hot pots in Iceland! There is something for everyone and such a cool and fun part of the landscape. Hitting up the hot pots was definitely one of my favorite things we did in Iceland!
- Our Budget for Iceland
- The Ultimate Guide to Traveling by Campervan in Iceland
- Our 7 Day Ring Road Itinerary
- 14 Gorgeous Waterfalls in Iceland
- Top 8 Bucket List Experiences in Iceland